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The liberal nation

Having transformed domestic politics, Tony Blair is now constructing a new idiom for Britain's place in the world in which liberal values can coexist with a proper patriotic pride

By David Marquand   March 2002

The real interest of James Naughtie’s recent book on the psychodynamics of Tony Blair’s relationship with his chancellor of the exchequer lies in what it fails to say. His book (The Rivals, Fourth Estate) purports to tell the story of a political marriage and, on one level, it does so. Naughtie is a close observer of the Westminster village. He knows and likes both his protagonists and writes about them with sympathy and insight. But his book sits all too comfortably in the idea-free zone which now encompasses most of British political journalism. He is fascinated by the emotional tug-of-war…

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